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Slips, trips and falls. Your guide to improving health & safety

By 18th January 2017Blog

During autumn and winter months, as hours of daylight reduce and cold and wet weather spells increase, so do the number of slip and trip accidents due to the potential of leaves, snow and ice building up on pathways. You can take effective preventative action now to reduce the number of accidents because of slips and falls.

Ice, frost and snow

Frosty morning

Ice, frost and snow in many cases create the highest risk for slip and trip accidents. To reduce this risk an assessment should be made and a system put in place to manage it. The Health and Safety Executive recommends the following steps in reducing slip and trip hazards.

  • Identify the outdoor areas used by pedestrians most likely to be affected by ice, for example: building entrances, car parks, pedestrian walkways, shortcuts, sloped areas and areas constantly in the shade or wet.
  • Monitor the temperature, as prevention is key.
  • You need to take action whenever freezing temperatures are forecast. Keep up to date by visiting a weather service site such as the Met Office or the Highways England
  • There are also smart signs on the market, available to buy at low cost, which display warning messages at 50 and below.
  • Put a procedure in place to prevent an icy surface forming and/or keep pedestrians off slippery surfaces.
  • If warning cones are used, remember to remove them once the hazard has passed or they will eventually be ignored.

Review your lighting

Streets lights at night

The reduction in daylight hours, coupled with duller days may lead to inadequate lighting around the workplace for you and your colleagues. Have you asked your employees if they feel their working environment is adequately lit during winter months? It may be worth monitoring internal and external walkways that are used during working days to identify poor lighting. If you can’t see hazards, chances are your colleagues can’t see them either and the risk of slip and trip accidents increases.

Having planned preventative maintenance carried out on your workplace will ensure that light bulbs are replaced and working, and the installation of energy efficient high performance LED lighting may also improve visibility in poorly lit areas, both reducing the potential hazard of slip and trip accidents.

The dangers of heavy rain

Heavy rainwater

Due to the volume of rainwater increasing during autumn and winter months’, surfaces can become slippery. When having external areas paved, speak to your building services provider to discuss the potential of having slip resistant materials used. For new sites take care in planning where pedestrians are likely to walk around the site, and any shortcuts they may take. In doing so you can make sure pathways are laid in the correct place which may save you money in the long run. Many slip and trip accidents occur when people are entering buildings. Ensuring that you have a

Many slip and trip accidents occur when people are entering buildings. Ensuring that you have a cleaning team in place with an effective schedule to mop and dry entrances is one step to reducing slips. You may also want to consider the potential of installing large absorbent mats. Specialists could also be called in to treat existing flooring with non-slip coatings which may be more cost effective than replacing the whole floor.

Wet and decaying leaves

Autumn trees

As the autumn months roll in the number of fallen leaves increase. Combined with wet, dull weather the leaves start to decay and can create slip and trip hazards. Fallen leaves may hide potential hazards and can create slip risks themselves.

To reduce the potential of slips and trip accidents you may want to consider using a grounds maintenance team who use a regular interval plan to remove leaves from pathways, and high traffic areas. Having your shrubbery maintained by professionals throughout the year, and especially in autumn and winter months will aid in reducing slip and trip accidents, whilst also providing you with an aesthetically pleasing external environment.

Always be careful

Although there are many ways to reduce the risk of potential slip and trip hazards, it’s important that you and your employees remember to always be careful. For more information on how you can protect your property, employees and customers, explore our website or contact us here

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